Seeking help – Debt owed for repairs?

Seeking help – Debt owed for repairs?

11:01 AM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago 17

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A former tenant owes me £2,222 for repairs to the house. It’s a bit of a story – they moved out in December 2021. I would definitely like to get a CCJ and if necessary, take steps to go for an Attachment of Earnings.

I emailed two firms of solicitors, one local and one that advertises online asking if they would take the case on, but neither responded. I presume it is too small an amount for them to be interested.

I felt I had to get the procedure started, so I posted a ‘Letter Before Action’ through her door in April with no response at all. I would still prefer to de-personalise the process, so I then emailed a well-known firm but they are not taking on extra work at present.

I fully appreciate that the whole case will not be cheap and may cost almost as much as the amount outstanding, but I do think she should jolly well pay what she owes. I’m sure she is relying on me not pursuing her for the money.

Can anyone suggest a firm that would take this on?

Could be based anywhere as the whole lot would be done online.

Or is it just too small an amount owing?

Smithy



Comments

Neil Patterson View Profile

11:07 AM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

You are likely correct that the exercise could be more for your satisfaction than getting the debt repaid and your costs back.

Have you tried Landlord Action?

Martin View Profile

12:17 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

Having been in a similar position and being driven by emotion, I ended up just doing a small claims court action myself and a CCJ was issued. Some of the debt was paid but was the pain & anguish worth it - NO.
I now have legal insurance that would cover this type of debt.

MarkT

12:29 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

i too have been in the same place and can again confirm its unlikely to bring you a good end - you may get a CCJ and AofE - but they may say can only pay £5 per week and only pay for a few weeks but then move job and cant pay etc - the anguish and what you will go through is not worth it - i know its not right and not fair but you will tie your self in knots with an all consuming vendetta - better to let it go and move on

Robert Mellors View Profile

12:50 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

We use a debt collection company, on a "no collection, no commission" basis, and the company's commission is added to the debt, so becomes payable by the debtor, in addition to the amount owed to us, thus meaning the whole process costs us nothing (except our time instructing the company). They issue a series of debt recovery letters to the debtor, if debtor still does not pay, then I ask them to issue a "Letter Before Action" (LBA), still at no cost to us.

If the debtor ignores the LBA, we are then asked if we wish the company to issue a county court claim. If we say yes, then there is a court fee and also a fixed fee to the company, but again, these are costs (plus statutory interest) are added to the debt so become part of the County Court Judgment (CCJ) against the debtor.

Once a CCJ has been obtained, this can then be transferred up to the High Court for a writ to enforce the debt (again, court fees apply) via a high court enforcement officer (HCEO). Alternatively, once you have the CCJ you can choose to apply to enforce via an attachment of earnings (or other lawful method).

They also do a "no trace, no fee" service, so if you don't have a forwarding address for your debtor (former tenant), they may be able to trace them for you (and if not, there's no charge).

To enable all of the costs to be added to the debt and become payable by the debtor, you will need to have terms within your tenancy agreements that allow for debt recovery costs (including legal costs and court fees etc), and statutory interest, to be added to the debt. - I don't know the terms of your particular tenancy agreement so cannot comment on your particular ability to do this, but check the clauses in your AST to see if this is included. - If it's not included within your terms, it does not stop you taking the actions, you just might not be able to recover the costs from the debtor.

The debt recovery company I use is called Shergroup, and my contact there is Jackie Morgan. j-morgan@shergroup.com If you mention the services they provide to my company Choice Housing Ltd, then they should know what you are asking for.

The whole process can take a considerable length of time, so don't expect instant results!

Margaret Liddell

13:01 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

Twice I have taken a tenant to Small Claims Court and won and got my money back. For the amount you are chasing it’s not worth employing a solicitor, but SCC is not expensive. The second time, my tenant owed over £3000 in rent and is now paying me back at £50 per month. Soon recouped my SCC fees and now anything else I get is a bonus. I like the satisfaction of holding irresponsible people to account.

LordOf TheManor

13:14 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

Question for Martin at 12:17......

Which insurance company have you found to cover eventualities such as this? I haven't found one - and it's not for the want of looking!

Thanks

Lord

Martin View Profile

13:31 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

Insurance policy is part of my building insurance as an "extra". I think it was £35 per property/year, it has terms and conditions, so read carefully and it does not cover failure to pay rent.
Recommended by my local landlord association:
https://www.alanboswell.com/

Richard Adams

14:14 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

I concur with other comments that you should get a CCJ via the Small Claims process. Does not cost much but takes time. Tenant will more than likely not contest but even if they do you will get judgement. Then armed with the CCJ instruct DCBL to recover the debt. Look them up online. Same firm that featured on Channel 5 "can't pay we'll take it away". Have succeeded twice for me. Brilliant! Getting all this set up including getting the CCJ won't cost you more than £200 odd. Your tenants will be thinking right now you can't touch them and will give up. Prove them wrong so they don't get away with it. Good luck.

Chris @ Possession Friend

15:43 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 18/05/2022 - 14:14
We've tried a few, varying success with different HCEO's

Blodwyn

16:05 PM, 18th May 2022, About a month ago

On seeing your query, I googled 'debt collecting solicitors in Newcastle' and got what look on their face useful contacts, including some from nowhere near Newcastle and of course specialist debt chasers not solicitors.
Bull question, is your debtor worth powder and shot? If not, write off to experience. At least they are former tenants, not still sitting there.

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